Feature: Chinese charitable organization offers hope to vulnerable school children in Ethiopia

Source: Xinhua| 2021-06-11 03:08:05|Editor: huaxia
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ADDIS ABABA, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Hussein Iddy, 11 and a fifth grader at the Obaay Primary School, was excited when he received the latest batch of much-needed food items donated by fellow Chinese school children through the Chinese Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA).

The Obaay Primary School, located in the Dukem town in Ethiopia's Oromia regional state, hosts Iddy and some 400 other children whose families were displaced due to recent deadly conflict in the southeastern part of Ethiopia. The school is one of the recipients of the CFPA's life-changing support aimed at creating an enabling environment for school children to effectively undertake their education.

On Thursday, Iddy and his schoolmates received the third and latest batch of support consisting of food items, which is a continuation of various support schemes that included necessary school supplies donated by the Chinese people through the CFPA.

"We are now, for the third time, receiving rice and wheat flour. We are very thankful for this support and we love and respect you (the Chinese people)," Iddy said after receiving the support.

Daniel Retta, whose younger brother is also attending the school, is another recipient of the Chinese support for poverty alleviation.

According to Retta, the donation, which includes various learning supplies, is helping students to effectively undertake their education.

"Unlike before, we are now attending our education eagerly and happily," Retta said as he received the support.

The support is the continuation of the CFPA's Smiling Children School Feeding Program, which provides meals in six public schools with nearly 8,000 students in Addis Ababa, Oromia and Somali regions.

In 2018, the CFPA cooperated with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to provide meals to 2,352 refugee children from three Jijiga refugee camps in Ethiopia's Somali region, enabling each student to have one hot meal on every school day.

The donation has proved successful as students' parents commended the support for not only encouraging children to get into school but also attracting new enrollments from marginalized communities and providing a solid foundation for continued learning.

Osman Adam, whose son is a third grader and is one of the recipients of Chinese support at the Obaay Primary School, said the donation improved students' health and interest in education.

"With the help of this donation, we don't have to worry about our children's health. We had problems providing adequate food and academic materials to our children," Adam said. "Thanks God, the rice and wheat flour is keeping our children healthy."

In addition to the Smiling Children School Feeding Program, the CFPA also implements the Panda Pack Project that aims to provide school supplies to vulnerable students.

During the past two years, the CFPA distributed more than 100,000 Panda Packs school bags to students of the Ethiopian public primary schools across the country.

According to Jebessa Gedefa, the principal of Obaay Primary School, the support is valuable to the teaching-learning endeavor as it has boosted students' dedication to education.

"I am happy for this aid. The students, their families, and the whole community are very happy today -- you can see their facial expressions," Gedefa said. "After receiving this aid, the students' grade in the classroom is increasing, and students' dropout rate has decreased. It has many advantages for this school."

The CFPA, which started implementing various programs in Ethiopia in 2015 and officially registered as a charitable organization in July 2019, works to deepen the people-to-people ties between the two countries. It has been carrying out activities through its major programs, including the Smiling Children School Feeding Program, and the Panda Pack Project, Water Cellar Project, School Water Purification Project, and Women Economic Empowerment Program in Ethiopia.

"All our programs are supported by the Chinese people. It is people-to-people connectivity; it is from the ordinary Chinese people," said Huang Xiaocen, deputy director of CFPA Ethiopia. "It is the friendship between China and Ethiopia. We want to do our best to contribute to the sustainable development of Ethiopia not only in the educational areas, but also health and the WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programs and clean energy." Enditem